Full disclosure – the electricity went out at my house about an hour into the televised ceremony and stayed off for two solid hours. No matter. I witnessed plenty of oddness in my truncated viewing of the event.
Men in top hats danced while the Industrial Revolution happened – I wasn’t around at that time in history, but apparently the Industrial Revolution involved men alternately dancing around doing weird things with their gloved hands and climbing smokestacks that mysteriously appeared out the ground.
Why were they there? – On a couple of occasions, characters appeared that seemed, well, out of character. Sir Kenneth Branagh’s portrayal of a British railroad pioneer looked suspiciously like America’s own Abraham Lincoln.
And why exactly did Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band show up in the circa 1800 timeline?
Glad he was there – Rowan Atkinson, a.k.a. Mr. Bean stole the show playing one note on a keyboard during the orchestral rendition of “Chariots of Fire” and daydreaming about winning that famous race along the beach. Atkinson perfectly showcased his rubber-faced expressions and that brilliant British dry humor we all love.
She knows how to make an entrance – Speaking of British humor, I adored Queen Elizabeth for getting involved in the ceremony in such a unique, and quite uncharacteristic, manner. Not only was she game to appear in a short clip with James Bond himself (played by the ever-poised Daniel Craig), she went along with the parachuting-out-of-a-helicopter sight gag. This was an absolute marvelous moment for the Queen, who is usually very press-shy. Long live the Queen!
Team uniforms – There was a major brouhaha when it was revealed that the Ralph Lauren designer duds for the US team were, in fact, manufactured in China. Said an embarrassed Lauren, “Next time the Olympic uniforms will be made in the USA.” No kidding. Congress supposedly drafted a bill declaring all future US Olympic uniforms be made in the US. Regardless of where they were made, they looked stupid. Berets. Really? In the words of Rusty Griswold in European Vacation, “Berets are really rank.”
The only consolation to this story is the US uniforms weren’t as ridiculous as the pastel pink and blue things worn by the team from Germany.
The Royal Family – While they were expected to be in attendance, the Royals displayed different emotions while fulfilling their official obligations. William and Katherine seemed, for the most part, to enjoy themselves. The Queen, was, well, the Queen. Prince Charles and his horse-faced wife Camilla were quite disrespectful during the British national anthem, turning to each other and giggling throughout. That’s almost as bad as Obama consistently refusing to place his hand over his heart during the US national anthem. Shameful, absolutely shameful.